How Horizon Prison Initiative Is Working to Make Prisons a Place of Hope

prison

Prison can feel like a forgotten place. A place where we send our broken and unwanted to hide them away from the nation’s consciousness. For so many, it is a place of trauma, of retribution, that only adds to a lifetime of hurt. But what if instead, prisons were a place of redemption, a place of hope? What if prison became a beacon of God’s love, not just to those living there, but to the world?

These are some of the questions that the Horizon Prison Initiative tries to answer.

Horizon grew out of the Kairos Prison Ministry when several leaders saw the need to expand beyond a brief three-day encounter into a more in-depth program that could build lasting relationships to truly transform lives. They found that “removing your inner scarring and resentments toward yourself and others is not a simple process; it is achieved in a 24/7 year-long living, learning, and loving environment.”

After an initial launch in Florida, Executive Director Jeff Hunsaker says the program expanded to Ohio when a compassionate warden saw the importance of faith communities within prison walls. Horizon aimed to do what the prison institution couldn’t—to love on prisoners with God’s love in a profoundly transformative way. Hunsaker observes “you can’t pay people to care about people.” It has to come freely, and from the heart.

Horizon’s mission is to “transform prisoners to embrace society, not harm it. These transformed prisoners then transform prison cultures. Then they transform home communities.” Horizon graduates are told “you are a living example of faith, love, and respect. As a graduate your message of spiritual development and personal growth will impact prison culture. You will make light out of darkness and bring hope where little is expected.”

In explaining how he came to lead such a unique and sometimes trying endeavor Hunsaker said “It’s about calling. You have to be called to do this work. I could not resist it.”

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Urban Faith
Katelin Hansen

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